Stepanakert (Armenie: Ստեփանակերտ; cawed Khankendi (Azerbaijani: Xankəndi) bi Azerbaijan) is the lairgest ceety an caipital o the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, a de facto independent republic, though is internaitionally recognized as a pairt o Azerbaijan. The ceety population comprises aboot 53,000 ethnic Armenians.
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Foondin an Soviet era
Accordin tae medieval Armenian sources, the settlement wis first mentioned as Vararakn (Վարարակն, meanin "rapid spring" in Armenian) which it remained till it wis renamed Khankendi in 1847. Azerbaijani sources generally say that the settlement wis foondit in the late aichteent century bi a Karabakh khan, an wis thus cawed Khankendi (Turkic for "the khan's village").
In 1923 Khankendi wis renamed Stepanakert bi the Soviet government tae honor Stepan Shahumyan, leader o the 26 Baku Commissars, an, efter the Shusha pogrom haed resultit in major destruction at Shusha, the umwhile regional caipital, Stepanakert wis made the caipital o the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast. In time, Stepanakert grew tae become the region's maist important ceety (a status it received in 1940). Its population rose frae 10,459 in 1939 tae 33,000 in 1978.
In 1926, Soviet authorities adoptit a new ceety layoot designed bi the prominent Armenian architect, Alexander Tamanian; twa additional designs for expansion wur approved later on in the 1930s an 1960s, baith o which retained Tamanian's initial plan. Several schools an twa "polyclinics" wur established, an an Armenian Dramatic Theatre wis foondit in 1932 an named efter Maxim Gorky. Stepanakert served as Nagorno-Karabakh's main economic hub, an bi the mid-1980s there wur nineteen production facilities in the ceety.
The poleetical an economic reforms that General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev haed initiatit in 1985 saw a marked decentralization o Soviet authority. Armenians, in baith Armenie proper an Nagorno-Karabakh, viewed Gorbachev's reform program as an opportunity tae unite the twa together. On Februar 20, 1988, tens o thoosans o Armenians gathered tae demonstrate in Stepanakert's Lenin (nou Renaissance) Square tae demand that the region be joined tae Armenie. On the same day, the Supreme Soviet o Nagorno-Karabakh votit tae join the Armenian SSR, a move staunchly opposed bi the Soviet Azerbaijani authorities. Relations atween Stepankert's Armenians an Azerbaijanis, who supportit the Azerbaijani government's position, deterioratit in the follaein years an as a result, nearly aw o the Azerbaijanis fled the ceety.
Efter Azerbaijan declared its independence frae the Soviet Union in 1991, Stepanakert wis renamed bi the Azerbaijani government back tae Khankendi as pairt o a campaign against Communism an o Azerification. Fechtin brak oot ower control o Nagorno-Karabakh which eventually resultit in Armenian control o the region an a connectin corridor tae Armenie tae the wast. Prior tae the conflict, Stepanakert wis the lairgest ceety o the (NKAO), wi a population o 70,000 oot o a total 189,000 (Armenians at the time comprised 75% o the region's total population). By early 1992, that figure had dropped to 50,000.
Durin the war, the ceety suffered immense damage frae Azeri bombardment, especially in early 1992 when the Azeris uised the toun o Shusha as an artillery firebase tae fire GRAD missiles against it. So destructive wis the damage caused bi the incessant bombardment, that an Aprile 1992 report bi TIME Magazine notit that "scarcely a single biggin [haed] escaped damage in Stepanakert." The Azerbaijani military staged several grund attacks against the ceety; housomeivver, they wur repulsed each time. It wis no till Mey 9, 1992, wi the capture o Shusha, that the grund bombardment ceased. The ceety, nivertheless, continued tae suffer aerial bombardment for the remainder o the war.
There haes been an unoffeecial cease-fire observed since 1994.
- Regions and territories: Nagorno-Karabakh. BBC News. May 13, 2009. Retrieved July 23, 2009.
- (Armenie) Mkrtchyan, Shahen. «Ստեփանակերտ» (Stepanakert). Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia. vol. xi. Yerevan: Armenian Academy of Sciences, 1985, pp. 124-125.
- Hewsen, Robert H. (2001). Armenia: A Historical Atlas. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Kaufman, Stuart (2001). Modern Hatreds: The Symbolic Politics of Ethnic War. New York: Cornell Studies in Security Affairs.
- Lobell, Steven E., Philip Mauceri (2004). Ethnic Conflict and International Politics: Explaining Diffusion and Escalation. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.
- Carney, James. "Former Soviet Union: Carnage in Karabakh." TIME Magazine. April 13, 1992. Retrieved August 2, 2007.